Bagel Bar eyes big bite of Middle East franchise market
Bagel Bar, the Irish food company founded in 2001 by former banker and IT executive Ray Cowzer, is hoping that a push into the Middle East will help revive fortunes at the company as it weathers the economic storm at home.
Mr Cowzer was recently approached by Sary Hamway, a respected Dubai-based franchising expert, with a view to marketing the Bagel Bar concept to investors in the region.
Speaking to the Irish Independent, Mr Cowzer said that some interest had already been expressed by potential franchisees and that there could be scope for up to 10 Bagel Bar outlets in Dubai alone, where a significant expat community helps fuel demand for popular franchises.
At its peak, there were 25 Bagel Bar outlets in Ireland, but the number has been reduced to 17. Three of them are company-owned, with the remainder being franchises. Mr Cowzer said his firm should turn a small profit this year but said the economic environment remained tough.
At one stage, there were plans to grow the number of outlets across Europe to 200, with strong interest having been shown in the brand a few years ago by well-established franchisees in countries such as Germany.
Mr Cowzer added that while expansion in Ireland was firmly on hold, he would continue attempts to leverage the Bagel Bar brand abroad.